Often counseling involves helping folks navigate through a “loss of something”.
A loss of a love or relationship
A loss of security and certainty
A loss of job, business or finance
A loss of a friend or connection
A loss of freedom and autonomy
A loss of meaning and purpose
A loss of reputation
A loss of hope
A loss of a family
A loss of good health to name a few
When faced with a loss, we all go through various identifiable stages of loss. It may not be completely linear, but can fluctuate from one stage to another.
1 Stage 1: A sense of disbelief
2 Stage 2: The truth sets in, and we experience stress with fight, flight, or both.
3 Stage 3: We find “emotional acceptance” (not just “intellectual acceptance”)
4 Stage 4: We adapt and grow from the experience.
From experience, people often get stuck in stage 2, or fluctuate between stage 2 and 3. Being chronically stuck in fight/flight/freeze mode will cause a lot of psychosocial problems in people’s lives. I am sure we all see those in our practice.
Counseling is to assist folks to move from stage 1 and 2 to stage 3 and 4, with emotional acceptance often being the rate limiting step.